Baseball sweeps top-10 Georgia Gwinnett, fall to ranked Cumberlands in road series

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s baseball team faced some of their toughest opponents yet this week, taking on NAIA number eight ranked Georgia Gwinnett University in a two game series on Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26, while also facing off against 25th ranked Cumberlands University on Friday as well. The Pioneers would go 2-1 over the three game road series, sweeping GGU and falling to Cumberlands. Point Park now stands at 18-7 on the season, while also sitting in third in the River State Conference (RSC) standings, just ahead of 17 ranked Indiana University Southeast. 


“We focus on playing against the game of baseball and not the opponent,” said Head Coach Loren Torres before the matchups on Friday and Saturday. “We prepare for some of the things that the opponent might bring to the table, but we mainly focus on being the best version of ourselves. If we play well within our ability, we can beat any team in the country.”


Game one was a nail biter between the Pioneers and Grizzlies, with the game extending to extra innings. Freshman outfielder Jared Campbell would score the first run of the game with a solo shot in the top of the first, before GGU responded with a run-scoring single in the bottom half of the inning. The Grizzlies would put up another run in the fourth off a solo home run to center, but Point Park responded the very next inning in the fifth by capitalizing on a fielding error to tie the game up at 2. GGU looked to finish the game in the bottom of the ninth, but Point Park was able to escape a bases-loaded jam to send the game to extras. Campbell played hero for the Pioneers in the top of the 12th inning, ripping a solo home run to left to give the Pioneers the lead once again at 3-2. Point Park also shut down the opposition in the bottom half of the inning to give the Pioneers the close win. 


Campbell would lead the way on the offensive side with three hits, two of them being homers. Junior pitcher Easton Klien would start on the bump for the Pioneers, going five-and-two-thirds innings while giving up eight hits and two runs. He would also strike out four. Senior reliever Leo Diaz would have his work cut out for him, pitching six-and-a-third innings in the win, while only giving up three hits and three walks while striking out five for the win. 


Game two against the Cumberland University Patriots was a slug fest, with both teams putting up double digit totals by the end of the nine inning contest. The offensive onslaught started in the first inning, with Point Park putting up two runs in the top of the first before Cumberlands put up one of their own. Both sides would score at least one run per inning until the fifth and sixth, where both sides were held scoreless. Both sides would be tied at nine a piece as they headed into the seventh, with both sides once again scoring a run to make it a 10-10 game. Unfortunately, the Patriots would just squeak by the Pioneers with a two run home run in the bottom of the eighth to put them ahead 12-10 heading into the ninth. The Pioneers would go down in order to end the day with a 1-1 record. 


Junior middle infielder Luis Hernandez and senior utility man Gianmarco Marcelletti would lead the way for the Pioneers’ offense, with both going three-for-five, with Hernandez collecting three Runs Batted In (RBI’s) and ​​Marcelletti slugging two doubles. Junior first baseman Ty Andrews would also contribute with a two-run blast to left while collecting his own three RBI’s. 


The Pioneers sent out four different pitchers in the high scoring affair, with sophomore starter Joathan Rivera getting hit around in his three innings of work, giving up nine hits and seven runs, but also striking out five. Senior Ramon Medina would relieve Rivera, giving up two runs in a single inning of work before being relieved by sophomore John Hawley, who would go two-and-two-thirds innings while only giving up one run and striking out six in the solid relief appearance. Junior Jose Moreno got tagged with the loss after going one-and-a-third innings while giving up the two-run shot that would be the downfall for the Pioneers in the end. 


Game three was all Point Park against Georgia Gwinnett once again. Campbell stayed hot with the stick, mashing a three-run homer to center in the bottom of the third to put the Pioneers ahead 3-0. Point Park added insurance runs in the fourth, fifth, and eighth innings to help put them ahead 6-0, as they held down the Grizzlies’ bats to only six hits in the nine inning contest. 

Senior outfielder Ed Pfluger would go three-for-five for the Pioneers in a solid offensive outing, with Marcelletti, sophomore infielder Isaac Santana, and freshman utility man Jordan Campbell all picking up RBI’s in the final game of the series. Senior pitcher Jonathan Pacheco would toe the rubber for the Pioneers against GGU and was outstanding. Pacheco went eight innings while allowing six hits and a single walk, striking out three as he kept the Grizzlies’ offense down. Diaz pitched the final inning, walking one and striking out two to end the series. 


“We treated it like any other series,” said Pfluger. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we go out and play the best baseball possible.” 


As March switches over to April, Point Park has quite the schedule ahead of them. With only a month left in their regular season, the Pioneers will have at least 29 more games to go. The Pioneers will start off the month of April with a trip to Circleville, Ohio, on Friday, April 1 with an in-conference three game series against Ohio Christian University. The team will then travel back home on Sunday, April 3 to take on Fisher College in another three game series. Home games will be streamable through the Point Park athletics website.